5,000 tons of toxic waste seized, charges against 11
Probe finds scheme to sell heavy-metal sand as colorants17 February, 17:16
Sands containing extremely high concentrations of heavy metals - obtained as byproducts from waste processing - were resold as colorants for construction materials instead of being eliminated, said investigators who were part of the probe conducted by the regional environmental agency ARPAT and the Italian Forest Guard.
Charges were filed against 11 people, including company owners and environmental consulting professionals. The storage sites are located in Massa Carrara, Florence, Prato in Tuscany and in Biella, Piedmont.
Investigators found that a waste-treatment plant in Massa Carrara would collect residues from metal, stone and glass cutting activities, as well as the "sanding of painted metal". This waste was allegedly resold as a type of fine sand, while also containing extremely high concentrations of heavy metals like lead, copper, nickel and chrome. Buyers, mainly from the building sector, used the likely toxic sand for various applications, especially colorants. Investigators called the scheme "a true, organized waste-trafficking scheme" that raked in estimated revenues of 1.2 million euros.